Work poised to start on energy centre expansion

Work on the £6.5m second stage of the Somerset Energy Innovation centre is due to start next month, councillors were informed today (10 July).

Cabinet members approved the appointment of a contractor to build phase two of the Somerset Energy Innovation Centre (SEIC) and construction should start in August.

Opened in February 2016, the first phase of SEIC supports businesses in the growing nuclear and low carbon energy supply chain, providing 3,000 square metres of flexible office, meeting and informal meeting space.

The centre is home to 20 businesses – ranging from facilities management to electrical engineers. A further 40 enterprises have received support through the centre. Over the next 15 years the centre is expected to support more than 500 jobs.

Phase two will add another 2,000 square metres of space, with £5.1m of funding coming from Government’s Growth Deal, secured through the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership. Somerset County Council is contributing £430,000 from its capital funds and a further £869,089 comes from European Regional Development Fund to dedicate a small area of workspace to support non-nuclear sectors.

“A thriving economy, jobs and prosperity are vital to the long-term future of this county”, said Councillor David Hall, Cabinet Member for Resources and Economic Development.

“The SEIC development is one of the ways we are ensuring Somerset capitalises on the economic benefits of the Hinkley Point development. The success of Phase One clearly demonstrates there is demand to maximise these benefits so I’m delighted to see the expansion moving forward”.

Construction is anticipated to start next month and be completed in spring next year, with the target to open the additional space sometime around June 2018.

Today’s Cabinet decision authorised the development of the design for Phase Three of the centre, which will see expansion of a further 2,000 square metres. This design work will enable the council to start applying for funding packages.